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Sinopec to clean up air with geothermal heating in China

Operation Center for Sinopec Green Energy Geothermal Co, China (source: Orka Energy)
Alexander Richter 27 Feb 2017

Chinese oil giant Sinopec continues development of geothermal heating projects in China with its Icelandic partner.

A recent article by AFP highlights the role of Chinese state-owned oil giant Sinopec. Having drilled hundreds of geothermal wells in the country.

Coal is though is still by far the largest source of electricity in the country, as well as most of the heating in the country. As a result air quality is a big concern and geothermal seen as a solution.

In the province of Hebei in the district of Xiong, geothermal heating from wells with a depth of 1,500 meters are providing heating.

Providing heating to the population it not only cleans up the air, but also at a lower cost as other sources for heating.

The wells provide fluids of around 70 degrees Celsius before flowing into the hating system. There is a great potential for geothermal heating in China, but that remains largely unexploited.

With its experience in oil exploration, Sinopec has been working on geothermal now for quit some time and today its geothermal operations “make up for more than 40 percent of the total number of homes heated by geothermal energy in the country, making them a potential model for how it can tap this resource.”

The company is working with an Icelandic partner, Arctic Green Energy. With the Icelandic experience in geothermal utilisation, last but not least for heating, it provides great technical support.

With early starts of an Icelandic-Chinese cooperation on geothermal as far back as 2004/ 2005, a joint venture beginning in 2009, has invested  400 million yuan ($58 million) into the Xiong project, where they drilled almost 70 wells.

With Iceland having resources hot enough to also be utilised for geothermal power generation, resources in China – apart from Suchuan and Tibet – are mostly lower heat resources. These temperatures though are of great use for replacing fossil fuel based heating with heating from geothermal wells.

With low oil prices and a slow-down in economic growth in China, Sinopec has suffered, but appears to be investing further into renewable energy. This includes investments into solar and wind, but also geothermal energy.

Today, Sinopec has geothermal operations in 16 provinces of China, providing heat for some 40 million square metres of homes and factories. With these heating facilities, an estimated 3 million tonnnes of CO2 emissions is being saved.

 

So cleaning up the air with geothermal energy is happening and hopefully increasing over the coming years.

Source: AFP via Yahoo